Stock watch: Robert Saleh makes impressive case to be next Detroit Lions coach

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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We’re taking a new approach to stock watch, our snapshot of how Detroit Lions players are performing on a weekly basis.

With the Lions’ decision to move on from general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, it seems more appropriate to look at the rise and fall of some of their potential replacements.

It goes without saying that no coach or front office executive should be judged on a single game, and the total package that person brings to the table is far more important than one performance by his team.

Still, just like players have good weeks and bad ones, so, too, do coaches and executives. Consider this a measure of which way they’re headed.

ALBOM: Lions mercifully abandon their Patriot Way experiment

MORE: Top candidates to replace Bob Quinn as Lions general manager

MORE: 5 candidates to replace Matt Patricia as Detroit Lions coach

Stock up

Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator: Saleh was a hot name in last year’s coaching cycle during the 49ers’ run to the Super Bowl, and while San Francisco will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs this season, Saleh’s star has not dimmed at all. On Sunday, the Dearborn native’s 49ers defense had a dominant showing against the Los Angeles Rams, forcing four turnovers and keeping the Rams offense out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.

Robert Saleh, the ‘pride and joy’ of Dearborn, on cusp of Super Bowl glory ]

Arthur Smith, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator: Derrick Henry (27 carries, 178 yards Sunday vs. the Indianapolis Colts) won’t be joining Smith if he gets a head coaching job this winter, but Smith has done an impressive job nonetheless building one of the NFL’s most unique offenses. He’s not a former quarterback-turned-play caller like many OCs, but when his offense puts up 45 points against one of the NFL’s best defenses (even if it was shorthanded), you have to take notice.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State coach: Campbell might be the most sought-after college coach in this hiring cycle, and he has his Cyclones knocking on the door of the top 10 after a 23-20 win over Texas. Iowa State is not an easy place to win at, but Campbell has his program one win away from playing in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Raheem Morris, Atlanta Falcons interim head coach: Morris might be a tough sell in Detroit after he gift-wrapped the Lions a win with some questionable late-game coaching decisions, but he has experience as a previous head coach and he’s making the most of his stay as interim coach in Atlanta. The Falcons annihilated the Las Vegas Raiders, 43-6, and improved to 4-2 with Morris as their coach.

Stock down

Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator: On the flip side of Henry’s big day for the Titans was Eberflus’ defense in Indianapolis. The Colts allowed a season-high 449 yards of offense and gave up a Lions-like five touchdowns on six first-half possessions. Eberflus should make the interview rounds in January, but he might want to burn Sunday’s tape first.

Detroit’s decision to clean house was easy. Now the real work begins ]

Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator: The Bucs have been a tough team to figure out this year as Tom Brady continues to show his age in Bruce Arians’ offense. Leftwich, the former quarterback, is a name to watch in coaching circles, but the Bucs have lost three of four going into their bye week and risk being labeled underachievers if they don’t make a long run in the playoffs.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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